LUCE AMENDMENTS


On April 14-15 at 6:30 pm/City Hall the draft Zoning Code and all the LUCE Amendments go before the City Council. 

After hearing public testimony, they will decide:

Should Wilshire should be the highest, densest boulevard in the city?
Should only Wilmont be targeted for 6' additions to historical landmarks and properties of merit?
Should "Activity" Centers be eliminated at 14th/Wilshire and Centinela/Wilshire?
Should 1801 Wilshire be up zoned into an unofficial "Activity" Center?
Should parcels be consolidated to create extra big apartments and very big parking lots that exit into Wilmont?
Should an extra 3' (creating an extra floor) be added to Montana Ave, incentivizing housing 1.5 miles from Expo?
Elizabeth and Nikki from Sunset Park are leading a sub-committee of Neighborhood Council that also includes Laurence. This small group is creating a remarkable document to present to the City Council, an impressive array of resident priorities and community core values.

But some City Council members don't read everything they're sent. That said, they are a captive audience on the dais.

Wilmont will need speakers April 14 to make sure City Council listens to our priorities, as every land use attorney and lobbyist will be championing their cause.

Below is the official notice in the SMDP.

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TUESDAY, APRIL 14, 2015 and WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15, 2015, AT 6:30 p.m.


SUBJECT: Study Session on the Draft Zoning Ordinance, Proposed Land Use and Circulation Element Amendments, LUCE Amendment Appeals, Draft Official Districting Map, and Draft LUCE Land Use Designation Map Amendments

APPLICANT: City of Santa Monica LOCATION: Citywide

A public hearing study session will be held by the City Council to review, comment, and provide direction on the following:

• Draft Zoning Ordinance (Zoning Ordinance Update Redline Public Review Draft, as modified by the Greenline)

Proposed Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) Amendments:

1. Amending the title of all “Building Height Standards” graphics in Chapter 2.1 of the LUCE to “Building Height Guidelines” to clarify that graphics do not establish mandatory development standards
2. Striking the following text from Chapter 2.1: “similar to the established stepback standards of the zoning ordinance in effect as of May 27, 2010” throughout the LUCE 3. Clarifying throughout the LUCE that Tier 1 is baseline, by-right development up to the discretionary review thresholds established by the Zoning Ordinance

4. Amending text on pg. 2.1-41 (first bullet on the left) to include: “and a 3-foot height bonus above the 32-foot base height”
5. Eliminating the requirement that Tier 2 Residential and Mixed-Use projects be processed by development agreement unless the projects provide nonresidential uses above the first floor

6. Eliminating the provisions stating that Tier 2 discretionary review be undertaken by a Conditional Use Permit and clarifying that this discretionary review can be undertak- en by a development review permit or its equivalent.
7. Removing the Activity Centers Overlays on Wilshire Boulevard – Wilshire/Centinela and/or Wilshire/14th or modifying the development standards authorized in these cen- ters

8. Removing Tier 3 from the Mixed-Use Boulevard land use designation (MUB) in cer- tain areas of the City or modifying the MUB development standards for Tier 3 in these areas of the City
9. Removing Tier 3 from the Mixed-Use Boulevard Low land use designation (MUBL) in certain areas of the City or modifying the MUBL development standards for Tier 3 in these areas of the City

10. Establishing that a project which preserves a City-designated landmark or structure of merit in a portion of the R2 District that had historically been zoned R3 shall receive a 6-foot height bonus, allowing for an additional floor of housing beyond that otherwise authorized in this district

11. Modifying the discretionary review process for a project that requests Tier 3 height by eliminating the requirement that such review only be through a development agree- ment when the project would preserve a City-designated landmark or structure of merit and the requested FAR would not exceed the limitations established for Tier 2 projects

Exhibit A of Attachment K 3)
• Appeals of Planning Commission Denials of Specified LUCE Amendments (#4, 7, 8, 9) and LUCE Land Use Designation Map Amendments (1127 2nd Street, 1129 2nd Street, and 1137 2nd Street)

Draft Official Districting Map

Initial Study/Negative Declaration (State Clearinghouse #2013121053)

The City Council is recommended to direct staff to return on May 5, 2015 with a Zoning Ordinance for 1st reading, LUCE amendments, LUCE Land Use Map amendments, and the Official Districting Map.

LOCATION: City Council Chambers, Second Floor, Santa Monica City Hall 1685 Main Street, Santa Monica, California


Dear Wilmont:
The Wilmont Board of Directors wishes to inform you that on Wed, March 18,@ 5:30 pm the Planning Commission will hold public discussions and then vote on new zoning language to be recommended for consideration by the Santa Monica City Council. Pertinent items will affect Wilmont, including:

Tier 3 - Extra tall, dense buildings on Wilshire
Wilshire Activity Center
1801 Wilshire – potentially an unofficial “Activity Center”
Advocates of accelerated zoning (higher, denser, faster) will certainly be in attendance to comment before the Commission. Please consider appearing in the City Hall chambers to make your voice heard or email opinions/concerns to the commission and City Councilors.

Relevant information:

Over the past two years, Wilmont members and other residents have sent hundreds of emails and appeared at the Zoning Town Hall to protest, among other things, heights and density on Wilshire Boulevard, parcel consolidation, the Wilshire Activity Centers and Tier 3. Wilmont board members sent resolutions and testified at nearly all 35 zoning meetings.

Notwithstanding Wilmont residents' emails, public testimony and commentary, and repeated recommendations by Wilmont and other adjacent neighborhood organizations to ban Tier 3 and parcel consolidation on Wilshire Boulevard, city staff just published a new report that maintains “throughout the ZOU process, comments received from the public questioned the appropriateness of Tier 3 development along eastern portions of Wilshire (italics ours).

We have no idea where staff considers the boundary between east and west Wilshire Boulevard to be; further, any arbitrary boundary is of no moment to us.

The Chamber of Commerce and developers are advocating for Tier 3 anywhere on Wilshire.


Impact: 9th Street to Centinela along Wilshire Boulevard

An average 2-story apartment in Wilmont is 23’ high. Tier 3 can be 60’ high with an extra 12-18’ on 30% of the roof for stairwells, water towers, etc. Tier 3 also allows extra density; more apartment units would fit on each site. All new buildings on Wilshire will have underground parking garages that exit on residential streets.

Our Opinion:

Tier 3 (60’ tall) buildings would canyonize Wilshire
Tier 3 apartments are overly dense for our low-density neighborhood
Wilmont is more than 1/2 mile from Expo; big housing projects increase traffic and parking issues
Thousands of new residents would exit subterranean parking lots onto residential Wilmont streets
Increased traffic is inimical to walking and biking
Resident-serving, local businesses would compete with bigger, branded stores

Along with fellow Neighborhood Council members, we oppose “Activity” Centers citywide, especially one located at Ocean Park/Lincoln. If implemented, this “Activity” Center would create more traffic on Lincoln Boulevard, soon to be bisected by a ground-level Expo line.


Impact:  9th - 18th streets between Wilshire Boulevard and Montana, Ave., including Lincoln Middle School.

Includes area from Euclid to 16th St on Wilshire(north and south sides)
70’ tall shopping center and housing project
Dense apartments – denser than the rest of Wilmont
Hotel (one of more than ten new/expanded hotels to built in the City)
Large subterranean parking lot(s) that could be used to support parking from around the City, generating more traffic in Wilmont.
Our Opinion:

A Mixed Use project more than three times the height of adjacent apartments would cast shadows and overwhelm the surrounding residential districts
A multi-block, dense housing project would multiply traffic problems for surrounding residents
Large subterranean parking garages that exit into Wilmont would hinder local traffic, biking and walking
Increased traffic would make Lincoln Middle School students unsafe
Hotels belong in tourist areas and Downtown

Impact: 16th-21st Street, Wilshire Boulevard to Montana Avenue

Staff changed this 2-acre property into arguably the largest Mixed Use footprint on Wilshire Boulevard, making it an invitation for over-scale development adjacent to 1-2 story apartments and homes.

1801 Wilshire had a “mixed” zoning designation: a) along Wilshire was zoned Mixed Use, b) the back, now a surface parking lot, was zoned Low Density Housing
Like A-lots, the surface parking lot serves as a buffer zone between adjacent apartments and businesses
Wilmont homes and apartments are low density and low rise (23 feet high)
This area is exceptionally low rise: primarily 1-2 story apartments and home(19th street is less than 2 lanes wide)

New Information:

City Staff has recently published a new map that changes the whole 2-acre property to a single Mixed Use property with no open-air parking lot i.e., eliminating the buffer zone. Development could abut residential housing of 1-2 story homes and the existing surface parking lot could be covered with dense, 47’ high apartments.

Under current zoning, 23’ apartments could be built on the parking lot, but each apartment must have individual setbacks and green space. By eliminating the individual residential parcels, the green space is lost. Now developers can build a higher and denser building.

Our Opinion:

The current LUCE designation for 1801 Wilshire is correct and must not be changed
1801 Wilshire is beyond ½ mile of Expo. Creating a very large housing project far from Expo would create more car trips
A 2-acre underground parking garage would mean hundreds of cars exiting onto two narrow, residential streets, increasing traffic on all surrounding streets; the bigger the project, the bigger the parking garage and resultant flows (e.g. Whole Foods/23rd& Wilshire Blvd.)
A substantial Mixed Use footprint on Wilshire invites development agreements for a hotel, a “parking district”, extra large housing project and other aspects of an “Activity” Center

Resident Action:

The City needs to hear what YOU want.

#1 - Speak at the Zoning Planning Commission Meeting, Wed. March 18 @ 5:30 pm, City Hall (Free Parking)

This will be the last Commission meeting on  the Zoning Ordinance.

#2 - Email your concerns and ideas

If you’ve written before, please do so again. Developers, consultants, lobbyists and the Chamber of Commerce are targeting staff and officials, any decision-influencer ‘sitting on the fence.’

SEND TO: (Planning Commission Clerk)

COPY: (City Council Clerk)

#3 - Attend the City Council Zoning Session, Tues. April 14, City Hall

The City Council will hear public testimony on all zoning issues before making their FINAL decisions. Democracy is a participatory sport: please make your voice heard.

Thank you all for your determination and efforts, especially the small group of Wilmont and other neighborhood residents who have spent hundreds of hours researching and compiling information to comprehend and explain the ramifications of proposed Zoning Ordinance changes.

Best regards,

Laurence Eubank, Chair


Update on the A-lot / residential lots on Wilshire! 

Planning Director David Martin did an overview of A-lots and residential lots on the north side of West Wilshire between 4th Court and 21st in Wilmont. These large parcels are behind almost every commercial building between 11th St and 16 St.  Most of this land is now being used for parking lots.  The land serves as "buffer zones" between Wilmont's low rise, quiet neighborhoods and businesses on Wilshire.  (Think of the big parking lot behind Vons, for example.)

The Planning Director said that “somebody” has already converted

most residential land from 11th to 16th on West Wilshire to commercial use!


The Planning Director said that Staff did this during the LUCE mapping process, but he didn't know exactly who it was or when it was done. He did say that the Commission would talk about it and the City Council would vote on it. (The LUCE is the City’s General Plan and that map is an official document.) But “somebody” already did this without any public process. This "somebody" also doubled, in some case tripled the size of parcels between Euclid and 16th St. – the exact site of the proposed 14th St. Activity Center!

Was this a coincidence?  What do you think?

This means that:

  • Staff changed residential land to commercial without telling residents or the Planning Commission.
  • A narrow strip of commercial land along Wilshire is now a fat chunk of commercial land ripe for intense development - think Hines!
  • Commercial property can be developed much HIGHER and much DENSER than residential property.

If the City Council votes to allow the A-lots to be converted to commercial land, the 14 St. Activity Center could be 70ft tall with an FAR (density) of 3.5. That’s higher and denser than the buildings Downtown or next to the Expo!

Imagine 70' buildings packed with retail and housing right next door to 23' apartment buildings.

Imagine 2,000-3,000 subterranean parking spaces underneath.

Imagine a hotel with 24/7 valet and guests - all in our neighborhood


STEP #1  EMAIL the City Council and Planning Commission.    contact info

  • Ask them to reclaim all the A-lots and residential land on Wilshire. Wilmont residents need a buffer between low density homes and commercial properties.
  • Request that they remove the 14th St Activity Center from the LUCE>  Residents don't want a hotel, mall and massive underground parking lot in a quiet family neighborhood.
  • Ask that Tier 3 (high/dense buildings) be eliminated from the LUCE.  West Wilshire is far from the Expo and has limited bus service.  They can balance housing and workforce without creating a parking and traffic nightmare in Wilmont.

Step #2  Get ready for the TOWN HALL.  In a month or so, Staff will release the preliminary Zoning Update for the City.  Called the "Redline", this set of documents will present the Planning Commission and Staff's recommendations to the City Council.   Among other things, this report will cover:

  • 14th St Activity Center
  • Heights and Density for Wilshire
  • A-lots and residential lots

At the Town Hall Meeting, you'll be able to express your thoughts and concerns about the zoning for our neighborhood.  After the Town Hall, the City Council will vote on the Zoning laws that will guide the city for the next 20 years.  We'll keep you posted on details, including the date!

Step #3  Come to the next Wilmont Meeting: Tues May 6, 6:30pm at the Montana Branch, SM Library.

The big black box on the map indicates the area where high, dense buildings would be built.

New height & densities proposed for Wilshire

The Planning Commission and City Council are in the process of re-writing the zoning code for Santa Monica.  They are considering new height and density along Wilshire Blvd that could change the look and feel of our city and our neighborhoods forever. 

The Planning Commission is now thinking about a "hybrid" approach to zoning. Boulevards that are more than 1/2 mile from Expo would have less density and more parking than projects within easy walking distance. Because Wilshire is not within a 1/2 mile radius of any Expo Station, residents, customers and employees in new-Mixed Use projects won't have easy access to transit and are much more likely to drive. 

A "hybrid" approach to parking and density is more likely to reduce car trips and green house gasses.  On April 7, at the Northeast Neighbors Meeting, David Martin, Director of Planning said that the Planning Commission is considering this approach. 

If this approach makes sense to you, please write to the City Council and Planning Commission! They are debating this topic NOW!

  (Code word for giant mall)  PROPOSED AT 14TH AND WILSHIRE
Hotel - Condos- Expensive Parking ?

They call it an "activity center" but it is a huge Mixed Use project that would run from Euclid (13th) to 16th streets on both sides of Wilshire.  It could be bigger than Santa Monica Place mall.  It would probably include a hotel, a huge mall, multiple levels of condos and rental units, plus 2,000 to 3,000 thousand subterranean parking spaces.  Parking sounds tempting, but it would likely be expensive, pushing customers and employees into our neighborhoods looking for free street parking.

This massive plan for 14th St can be found in the City’s General Plan (LUCE) and in the draft Zoning Code. At this point, no developer has filed an application because the Zoning Codes have not been finalized. We must remove the 14th St Activity Center from the Zoning Code and amend the LUCE, so that no big developer can file an application.

You can be a part of this conversation by emailing our Planning Commission, City Council, and City Staff. (Contact Info)

03/12/14  Wilmont Recommendations Agenda Item 6-A ZOU: Parking & TDM. Planning Commission 3-12-14

  Our neighborhood is worth fighting for!
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